The Barbershop has re-located

The proprietor has moved the shop to ChicagoNow, a Chicago Tribune site that showcases some of the best bloggers in the Chicago area. You can logo on to the Barbershop home page here. The ChicagoNow home page is here.

You'll still be able to post comments with the same ease as in this location. The proprietor also will keep this web site alive if you wish to review old posts.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Dems Should Dump Ethically Challenged Harry Reid

By Dennis Byrne
RealClearPolitics

Instead of talking in sweeping platitudes about "ethics reform," Senate Democrats might want to prove they mean it by dumping their ethically challenged majority leader, Harry Reid.

The Nevada lawmaker has been implicated in yet another land scheme that this time could net him a tidy $50,000 to $290,000. Los Angeles Times investigative reporters Chuck Neubauer and Tom Hamburger, this week revealed that Reid paid $166 an acre for valuable northern Arizona land whose market value, according to the county assessor, four years ago was worth $2,144 an acre.

Who would be a big enough fool to sell Reid the land at such a ludicrously low price? A long-time pal who would financially benefit from some obscure legislation that the senator has often sponsored.

Read more at RealClearPolitics

Monday, January 29, 2007

A super pioneer in own right

By Dennis Byrne
Chicago Tribune

By now, anyone who has ever heard of the Super Bowl knows that for the first time a team in it will be coached by an African-American. Make that two: the Chicago Bears' Lovie Smith and the Indianapolis Colts' Tony Dungy.

For a professional sports league that once banned black players, it's a measure of how far they--actually we--have come. A few morons occupying the sumps of wild-eyed racists may oppose black National Football League coaches, but they're so deep underground, where they belong, we rarely, if ever, hear from them.

So, as we're about to start Black History Month, it might be a good thing to review our progress. By going back to when there were rules against blacks doing much of anything except staying out of sight. Now, there not only is an absence of rules against, say, black coaches; the welcome mat is out with a rule requiring that at least one black candidate be interviewed for each opening.

So, as Black History Month begins in a few days, we should not forget men such as Percy Julian.

The fact that most readers are asking "Who?" makes my point. Percy Lavon Julian, an African-American, may be one of the greatest chemists, if not scientists, of our time. If you're curious about how great, the popular PBS science series "NOVA" mentions him alongside Albert Einstein, Galileo and Isaac Newton. The 100th anniversary of his birth (1899 in Jim Crow Alabama, as the son of a railway clerk) passed with barely any notice outside of his profession--obscurity that can be racked up not just to the American public's scientific and engineering illiteracy, but also to his race. Amazingly, that's particularly so in Chicago, where he spent much of his remarkable career establishing a global reputation for his accomplishments in organic chemistry, especially in the synthesis of medicinal drugs.

In 1935 he synthesized physostigmine, a critically important drug for treating glaucoma, which had been available in only limited supply from its natural source, the Calabar bean. Over the next decades, the American Chemical Society has noted, his work led to numerous breakthroughs, from soybean protein, adopted by the Navy during World War II for fire-fighting foams, to chemical substances ("intermediates") that are key to the mass production of synthetics for treating rheumatoid arthritis.

Despite these achievements, and along with his master's degree from Harvard and his PhD from the University of Vienna, he still could not find employment because of active--not passive--discrimination against minorities.

Even DePauw University, where he graduated valedictorian and was elected Phi Beta Kappa, denied him a faculty position.

Rejected by academia, he turned to industry, where rejections continued until 1936, when W.J. O'Brien, a white vice president of Glidden Co. in Chicago, offered him a job as director of research for the company's Soya Products Division. There, as one chemist said, he made "an industry out of the simple soybean." In 1953 he established Julian Laboratories, which he later sold for millions. Despite his stature, folks still tried to burn down and bomb his Oak Park home.

He died on April 19, 1975, the first African-American chemist inducted into the National Academy of Sciences.

You'll want to know more about this great man, even if your interests don't bend toward process chemistry, atom economy and waste minimization. Next week you can, as "NOVA" airs a two-hour documentary about Julian, called "Forgotten Genius." (In Chicago, the program will air on WTTW-Ch. 11 at 8 p.m. Feb. 6.) Hampered by a paucity of documentation because of his race, "NOVA" spent years tracking down and interviewing his aging contemporaries.

A moving force behind keeping Julian's memory alive is James P. Shoffner, emeritus chemistry professor at Columbia College and former board member of the American Chemical Society.

"Since I lived through some of those times, I can vouch for the honesty and integrity of the film," said Shoffner, an African-American. The movie, he said, honors a man who "was an inspiration and motivational figure for many young men and women. Although this was especially true for students and researchers of color, it was more generally true for all, no matter what their race, ethnicity or gender."

Still, said Joseph S. Francisco, a Purdue University chemistry professor, "Many African-American chemists are still struggling with some of the same issues."

Something to keep in mind as we celebrate the success of the Super Bowl coaches.

Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Bush's Iraq Strategy is More Than Just Escalation

By Dennis Byrne
RealClearPolitics

How can so many people--Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), the Boston Globe, Washington Post columnist Harold Meyerson, anti-war senators and on and on--be so ignorant about such a simple concept?

They are acting as if President George W. Bush's "new strategy" in Iraq is just to "escalate the war" by sending in 20,000 more troops. As anyone one notch above simpleminded ought to be able to understand, the core of Bush's new strategy is about how to fight the enemy.

Instead of clearing an area of insurgents and then leaving, as U.S. troops have been doing for too long, they'll now clear and stay, to secure the neighborhood. They'll stay to provide what has been most missing in this war and what poll after poll say that Iraqis want more than anything else: protection and peace.

If ever there is a recipe for defeat, whether in a traditional war or one against insurgency, it has been the previous Bush administration policy to fight to the death to clear out the enemy, and then promptly leave so that the enemy can pour back in virtually on your heals. How can you expect to get commitment and cooperation from civilians that know that the insurgents will return next week with their threats, violence and brutality?

Read more at RealClearPolitics

Monday, January 22, 2007

Kick the habit, subsidy junkies

By Dennis Byrne
Chicago Tribune

Now here's a news flash: Government subsidies help the rich more than the poor.

This latest bulletin is from a new study concluding that 15 years of Illinois subsidies to companies in the six-county Chicago area have benefited wealthier communities more than the poor ones that the assistance was supposed to help.

Who should be surprised?

Consider farm subsidies. They began as a safety net in the 1930s for family farms, but have ballooned into one of the government's fattest handouts, dispensing billions of dollars, not so much to family farmers but to big corporations and others that don't even live on the farms. A few years ago, Congress passed the Freedom to Farm law that was supposed to correct these problems but only made them worse.

Likewise, the business subsidies. They were meant to help attract jobs and businesses to impoverished neighborhoods and communities, but actually ended up doing the opposite, according to the new study by Good Jobs First, a Washington-based non-profit group that keeps track of such things and promotes metropolitan "smart growth."

The three-year study of $1.2 billion ladled out by Illinois in 780 subsidies as part of 10 programs (most in Illinois industrial revenue bonds, but not in tax-increment-financing aid) found that a disproportionate share went to job-rich areas such as the northwest suburbs, the O'Hare International Airport corridor and booming communities, such as Naperville, which don't need any help growing.

The 43-page report begins with a quote noting how the explosion of such suburbs "at the expense of the city increases pollution, drains jobs from Chicago, isolates the poorest of its residents from employment, adds to infrastructure costs, kills inner-city property values and tax base," etc., etc.

Whoa. That's from something I wrote 12 years ago, prompting brief shock that anyone would save my column for that long. My view since then of suburban growth has become a bit more "nuanced," as they say, and free market. But the underlying thought is still correct. The column was in response to a new Motorola manufacturing plant up near Wisconsin that got $43 million in Illinois subsidies and a mere eight years later was shut down, leaving jobless the hundreds of workers the subsidies were supposed to help.

So, what to do? The report recommends more strictly "targeting" subsidies to areas of high unemployment or low income; requiring companies to locate near mass transit or otherwise increase job access; and a new law requiring subsidized companies to file impact reports and justifications for relocating within the state.

In other words, more of the same. More reports; more oversight; renewed commitments; bigger bureaucracy to receive, analyze and file compulsory data; more regulation. When will we learn? Such business subsidies, although they no doubt have scored some meaningful successes, are a perfect example of how government's good intentions often are overtaken by the shoddy, defective and ineffectual. Subsidies not working? Then pour on some more. Subsidies going to the wrong people? Then create a squad of traffic cops to make sure that the bureaucrats send the money in the right direction. Pretty soon, it's layer upon layer of futility. Without ever speaking to the basic flaws.

Here's a thought. Get rid of the subsidies. Live without them. I'm sure this isn't what the Good Jobs First folks had in mind when it issued its study. But, you can bet that in another 15 years, another group will come along and report how the new "cure" has been maladministered.

We've seen it time and again. How the creation decades ago of a welfare safety net to provide the help that families needed to get back on their feet turned into an addiction, chaining generations to a life of dependence. The only solution was subsidy weaning.

Of course, I'm ingenuous. It can never happen, because of the special interests that demand them: companies that play communities and states off each other by leveraging ever-bigger subsidies. Organized labor that seeks to "create" and "preserve" jobs. Local taxpayers who believe they're ultimately getting relief from the "additional revenues" that a big plant in town will bring. Politicians who put "constituent services" (pork) above principle. Utopians who believe that government giveaways will work if we'd just fine-tune the bureaucracy.

Just about the only ones standing against the subsidies are us naifs, who will watch helplessly as yet another public sector scheme is concocted to alleviate the harm that the last scheme brought us.

Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune

Monday, January 15, 2007

No more magic tricks

By Dennis Byrne
Chicago Tribune

Go ahead and just get it over with: Raise our taxes.

Illinois' financial mess is driving the state to ruin unless a tax increase is part of the solution. For heaven's sake, even the state's business titans, who usually blanch at any mention of a tax increase, are almost pleading for one.

That's because they understand, unlike our Gov. Rod Blagojevich, that a state in financial ruin will lose jobs--in both private and public sectors--and businesses; poor people will find it even harder to get health care; the roads will deteriorate faster; and Illinois will complete its fall to below the perpetually bottom-dwelling Mississippi in virtually every quality-of-life measure.

With Illinois in hospice care, Blagojevich can forget about all those "activist government" goodies that he promised in last week's inaugural address. He also can say goodbye to all the things he bragged about achieving in his first term.

No wonder Blagojevich has asked to have a few more weeks before he has to present his budget to the General Assembly next month. By then, the anticipation will be sky-high as to what transparent gauze he'll try to hang over the state's ugly finances.

Just how bad is it? The figures already have been well publicized, from the elite business group the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicagoto the Chicago-based Center for Tax and Budget Accountability.

Illinois has the largest pension-fund debt in the nation, about $43 billion, give or take a billion, depending on whom you ask. But what's a few billion, more or less, when you're already drowning in $45 billion in debt? Nobody noticing the difference would be just further excuse for Blagojevich to lift another billion or so from the pension fund.

When you add up the pension deficits, unpaid bills, Medicaid costs and other obligations, the Civic Committee figures that the state's total liability is $106 billion. That despite a provision in the Illinois Constitution that says: "Appropriations for a fiscal year shall not exceed funds estimated by the General Assembly to be available during that year." In other words, no deficit spending. Maybe we should impeach the whole lot of them, if it's possible, for violating their constitutional oath of office.

But not before they get into the usual quarrel over whether the problem is caused by insufficient revenue or "wasteful and profligate" spending. Ralph Martire, executive director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, claims that the deficits are not the result of overspending or waste, noting that Illinois is one of the nation's lowest-spending states (42nd). The group blames the shortage of revenue on a variety of causes, such as a complex federal Medicaid reimbursement formula that punishes states with disproportionately high numbers of impoverished people.

But to ignore the spending side is irresponsible. Just to highlight a portion of the Civic Committee's report: The cost of employee and retiree health care has been growing 14 percent a year since 2000. I suppose you could blame the shortfall on revenues, which increased only 4 percent annually when they should have been growing at 14 percent, but that's perverse.

Just look at the cost of the state's profligate spending on insurance for retired state employees: Retirees with 20 years of service don't pay for their health insurance. Many retirees are covered by plans that allow free doctor visits. The state subsidizes 80 percent to 100 percent of health insurance premiums. Employees get to retire at 55. Most of us in private retirement plans would dearly love to have just one of those benefits.

Whether spending or revenue is to blame, the problem now is almost out of hand, and only tax increases (along with spending cuts) will give this state a chance. The politicians and the special interests, such as the teachers lobby, will fight to a standstill over what those steps should be. Progressives will want a "tax swap," in which a state income-tax increase will help equalize school funding while reducing property taxes. Fine. Whatever.

Blagojevich, if he's true to form, will show up with another cockamamie scheme for selling off state assets to fund current bills, a "solution" that will drive the state into bankruptcy even faster.

At this point, the solution is beyond me, but that's why we elect those people to go to Springfield. But one more year of this nonsense, and we all might as well move to Mississippi, where life undoubtedly will be better.

Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune

Friday, January 12, 2007

The escalating misuse of “escalate”

By Dennis Byrne
PoliticalMavens

Because ideas in Potomac and media circles travel in packs, we’re now being hounded by the word “escalate” as it applies to the Bush administration’s new policy in Iraq.

Said Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.): “Based on the President’s speech, I cannot support his proposed escalation of the war in Iraq.”

Chimed in Sen. John Edwards, the former senator from North Carolina: “Escalating the war is a huge mistake.”

MoveOn.Org, never to be outdone, is organizing protests to stop “the escalation.”

There’s only one problem with this chorus. It’s not Bush who is escalating the war.

Read more at Political Mavens

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Iraq requires a military solution.

By Dennis Byrne
RealClearPolitics

That's not what the au fait class of jabbering media and pols says, as they repeat, reinforced by each other's dictums, that Iraq requires a political solution, whatever that means, but we don't find out because the analysis doesn't go much deeper than that. They just know that President George W. Bush's new plan for victory in Iraq must be a "political solution."

The truth is that just about every war we've fought (except possibly the War of 1812) ended with a military solution. At least the ones we won. The Civil War didn't end with the political solution of the South voluntarily giving up slavery. America's victory at Yorktown was a military one in that we kicked the British out of our country. World Wars I and II ended with Germany's and Japan's military defeat.

Korea has waited half of a century for a political solution, but without the military reality of pushing the North Korean and Chinese communists back to roughly the 38th parallel, we'd be talking today not about a nuclear North Korea, but a nuclear Korea.

Continue reading at RealClearPolitics

Monday, January 08, 2007

Terrorists don't deal in diplomacy

By Dennis Byrne
Chicago Tribune

Now here's what should be a familiar story: One country--Ethiopia--got so fed up with waiting for the UN and the "international community" to do something about the threat of Islamic extremists in neighboring Somalia that it went ahead by itself and took them out.

If such unilateral military action sounds familiar, it's the game plan followed by President Bush in Afghanistan and Iraq.

For six months Muslim extremists, calling themselves the Council of Islamic Courts, have been installing their oppressive and murderous version of fundamentalist Islam in parts of Somalia. The council did so in defiance of a "transitional government" that had been established last February following the requirements of the "leave-the-problem-to-diplomacy" model of foreign policy demanded by Bush-haters.

In that spirit, an international "Coordination and Monitoring Committee" was created in Stockholm (Where else?) in 2004 to "channel and coordinate multilateral support for the peace process in Somalia." Further, said former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, "The international community and the transitional federal government, with the facilitation of Sweden, [had] been working since late 2005 to refine the mandate of the committee so that it can serve as an effective mechanism of support for the nascent Somali institutions."

"Consultative planning workshops" and "joint-needs assessments" were conducted.

Blah, blah, blah, blah.

Despite workshops and seminars, Annan was back just five months later lamenting the "territorial gains of Islamic militias" and some of the worst factional (what's called a civil war in Iraq) fighting "in nearly a decade." Annan pleaded for "greater international commitment" and for foreign nations to live up to their agreements "if the dire effects of the humanitarian crisis are to be mitigated." He warned that the "besieged transitional government must be fortified."

Yeah, and a lot of good that did.

The extremists continued to make gains and started to pose a threat to Ethiopia. Because there comes a time when enough is enough, Ethiopia sent tanks, planes and troops to dislodge extremists. What happened in the next 10 days was what the Associated Press called a "stunning turnaround for Somalia's government, which just weeks ago could barely control one town--its base of Baidoa--while the Council of Islamic Courts controlled the capital [Mogadishu] and much of southern Somalia."

Now, fleeing fanatics are being captured at the borders, some with satchels of cash, presumably to pull off terror attacks elsewhere. At least one had a Canadian passport, and it shouldn't take any explanation why that should worry Americans. At least three top Al Qaeda terrorists involved in the deadly bombings of American embassies in Africa were believed to have been holed up in Somalia. If they and other extremists try to flee by sea, they'll encounter U.S. Navy patrols waiting for them.

If we are, indeed, involved in a worldwide war against terrorism, you'd think that these developments would be hailed. Not exactly. Furrowed brows on PBS' "The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer" and elsewhere warned of the "specter of an Iraq-style guerrilla war," of "destabilization" and other similar horrors, which we're to believe are worse than the murderous Taliban-like hell that's the dream of the council.

Missing, too, are the usual European, Democratic and other condemnations of this Bushlike unilateral military solution. Is such outrage lacking because it worked, at least for now? Because it got other countries off the hook for solving the Somali problems? Or just because it wasn't Bush who engineered the invasion?

Or is it because in this particular battle against Islamic extremism, the standard pap about the need for "multilateral," "diplomatic," and "negotiated" settlements failed to work. Not only did they fail to work, but they made things worse.

Comparisons to Iraq obviously are flawed in some respects, and there's no disagreeing that Somalia will be unsettled, even dangerous, for some time to come. But here's one thought that isn't flawed: It is dangerous to sit back and hope that study groups and meetings in Stockholm somehow will deter maniacs bent on terrorism and murder. Can the UN and the international community finally bring themselves to acknowledge that the same lunacy isn't any better at ending the genocide in Darfur?

Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Truth, as mangled by Nancy Pelosi and Al Franken

By Dennis Byrne
PoliticalMavens.com

If we’re to have an intelligent and informed discussion about U.S. options in Iraq, House Speaker (D-Cal.) will need to speak more precise English.“There is complete chaos now,” she replied to CBS News correspondent Bob Schieffer on Sunday’s “Face the Nation” when he tried to ask if she were worried about what might happen to Iraq if U.S. troops started moving out in four to six months, as she wants.


The point here isn’t so much her redundancy—the definition of chaos is “complete disorder,” so “chaos” should suffice. It’s like newscasters who are in the habit of saying they are bringing you the “very latest” news when putting “very” in front of latest, doesn’t make it any more recent. It’s either the latest or not. My point is larger: the habit of war opponents to engage in such hyperbole, if not distortions.


Iraq is far from chaos. If Iraq were in chaos, there would be anarchy. No one would have electricity or water. There would be no government. No one would be safe. Everyone would be shooting at everyone else.


Continue reading at PoliticalMavens

Friday, January 05, 2007

Hate Mail

By Dennis Byrne
Human Events

How ironic that all the tributes to Gerald Ford, who may be, as we are now discovering, the nicest guy ever to be an American president, have stirred a few of the bottom feeders into action.

Specifically, they’re carping about no mail being delivered Tuesday as part of the national day of mourning for the former President, not so much because they miss their mail, but because they don’t believe that Ford is worthy of the honor. Or that it would only occur to the uberidiot, President Bush, to close the post office for the likes of Ford.

Thanks to the Internet, we can taste for ourselves, the sludge-like thoughts of folks who don’t like Bush because he’s “divisive,” but take the opportunity to spew a few of their own hateful thoughts about the man.

Continue reading at Human Events

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Barack Obama in Gerald Ford's Shadow

By Dennis Byrne
RealClearPolitics

Is it possible to explain the mystifying public enchantment with putative presidential candidate Barack Obama in light of the virtues so lovingly and lyrically attributed to President Gerald R. Ford?

America, exhausted from bitter partisan battles, extremist politics, consuming power-lust and all around nastiness, now hungers--we're told--for a government graced with the decency, honesty, compassion, moderation and neighborliness of a Gerald Ford. A politician's political philosophy and policy positions are not as important as his personal qualities. Nobility transcends all. Give us quietude, give us a break.

Everyone, it seems, is looking for a "boy scout"--for the moment no longer a pejorative term applied to a politician who seems too naïve, too goody-goody, but someone, as the name has been repeatedly applied to Ford, of sterling character.

Possibly this explains the peculiar lack of interest by an adoring public and media in Obama's political beliefs and voting record. Obama has established himself with an uplifting convention speech, a pair of books self-describing his down-to-earth values and his sincerity. And media that either choose to, or is afraid to, tarnish this image with anything approaching a skin-deep analysis of what he would actually do as president. Standing alone is the assumption that he would somehow "bring us together."

How, exactly, would Obama do that, other than flash his attractive smile? What is there in his past that would indicate superb unifying powers? No answers have come from the Washington and political press corps, whose labors have become arid of serious political analysis.

Read more at RealClearPolitics

Monday, January 01, 2007

Hey, did you hear the story about ...

By Dennis Byrne
Chicago Tribune

Hey, where did all those hurricanes go? You know, the ones that were supposed to be proof that the human race is to blame for global warming?

We were warned by the media--actually it was ground into our consciousness--that in comparison to the devastating 2005 hurricane season, the worst was yet to come. The 2006 season was to be "distressingly like" 2005 (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) and "another tempestuous one" (San Francisco Chronicle), which would produce more Katrinas (CBS' "The Early Show.") Turns out that there were fewer and less damaging hurricanes.

Of course, one year of reduced hurricane activity doesn't prove anything, just as one year of heightened activity didn't either, but that didn't stop a media panic attack. It was so wrong that it earned second place on the new Top 10 Dubious Data Awards list, issued annually by the Statistical Assessment Service, which describes itself as a non-profit, non-partisan think tank. The organization seeks to correct media misinformation resulting from bad science, politics or a simple lack of information or knowledge. STATS concluded that the "hurricane blowhards" who engaged in "media doom-mongering" have appropriately "gone with the wind."

I would have given them first prize, until I saw the lunacy that got STATS' top award: The Dec. 13 issue of Time magazine that warned parents to throw out all pacifiers, teethers, sippy cups and vinyl toys to avoid poisoning their children with phthalates, a family of chemicals that makes plastics flexible. "This Grinch-like recommendation came despite the fact that phthalates in toys have been cleared for children's use by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the European Union's Institute for Health and Consumer Protection," STATS said. Never let facts stand in the way of a "good" story.

The rest of the Top 10:

Girls not as wild as I hoped I: The media gushed over an AP report that "all but confirm[ed] what goes on in those `Girls Gone Wild' spring-break videos:" young women blacking out from drinking, having sex with more than one partner and so forth. Actually, the American Medical Association study was a non-random Internet poll of volunteers, of which only 27 percent had been on spring break.

Girls not as wild as I hoped II: The Wall Street Journal misreported that teenage girls increased alcohol consumption more than 30 percent from 1999 to 2004. The study's mistake was that it treated, for example, a 6-ounce glass of alcohol the same as an ounce of alcohol mixed with 5 ounces of orange juice. U.S. government studies show that binge drinking by college-age women has remained steady since 1980 and daily drinking has been declining since 2002.

More crocked booze news: Forbes and The New York Times bit on a study by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, which claimed that the alcohol industry reaped almost $50 billion, or half its revenue, from underage drinkers. To buy that, you have to believe that teen drinkers consume as much as all adult drinkers combined, and that half of all teens consume more than 1,000 drinks a year, or almost three daily.

Fishy new car smell: The Los Angles Times reported that the interior smell consisted of "dangerous" chemicals "outgassed" from polyvinylchlorides. The report was based on the claims of an environmental group that hadn't even bothered to measure how much of the chemicals had actually been outgassed in the cars it tested.

Miami vs. Baghdad: The Miami Herald and other American media went wild with filmmaker George Gittoes' statement that life is "much worse in Miami than Baghdad." Just a short glance at murder and crime statistics makes Gittoes and those who gave him credence look foolish.

An overly convenient poll: The AP announced that "the nation's top climate scientists are giving `An Inconvenient Truth,' Al Gore's documentary on global warming, five stars for accuracy." Please. Of the "more than 100" climate researchers the AP contacted, only 19 had seen the movie or read the book.

The kids are all right: NBC's "Today" show claimed the number of missing American children had risen 44 percent since 1982. Justice Department data, however, showed no increase during that period.

This is your brain on porn: To support its claim that pornography causes physical harm, ABC's main expert was an automobile executive.

As stupefying as these mistakes were, don't expect to see the corrections get as much media attention as did the original stories. Even though the corrections make for more interesting reading, and demonstrate why the public has such low opinion of those of us in the media.


Copyright © 2006, Chicago Tribune